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Stop Sibling Fights

Stop Sibling Fighting

Arguments, bickering, and siblings fights are found in every home, or at least in most homes. They are more than enough to steal the peace of your home. How do we Stop Sibling Fighting its an unanswered question most parents have.

It looks like they are a must happen, that there is no way of escape.

They are ancient, if you are a bible reader do you remember Cain and Abel? how about Joseph and his brothers?

Is it even possible to stop them? What causes them? How can they be avoided? These are subsequent, relevant questions parents are asking.

In this article, we will look at what causes siblings fights, ways to prevent them, and ways to resolve them,.

Should I be worried about the impact beyond the incident 

Most of what we call siblings rivalry is really innocent, it is not embedded upon some malicious deeply rooted bitterness, hence most of the time they can easily reconcile within a few minutes and get along

However, if parents notice attitudes and behaviors that suggest that the fighting is not incidental but there are some underlying issues it is advised that they seek professional intervention to resolve this situation that can negatively affect the kids to their adult years.

How parents handle or intervene during these fights can be a possible cause of long term negative effects. For example if the intervention always or most of the time favors one child over the next, The feelings of being less preferred by the parent can remain with the child to his adulthood.

One grievous mistake that we do as parents, especially when we respond or react without a proper understanding of what is happening and why it’s happening, is to put the entire blame of the conflict upon the older sibling. He is always expected to know better and respond better and differently.

The same mistake has a tendency of duplicating itself when the conflict is between a girl and a boy almost of the same age, in this context most of the time the boy child carries the blame.

These kinds of automated responses that happen without diagnosing and understanding the current conflict context can continually make one child feel less loved or preferred 

And this is what parents should avoid at all costs.

What are the causes of Siblings Rivalry?

1. Parents Attention 

Until the second child arrives there is no conflict. The 1st born child has enjoyed the whole of daddy and mommy’s attention. At the arrival of the younger sibling, he now must share the attention, and it happens by default that the new arrival gets at least 70% of the attention. It is at this time that the older one feels the need to arise and protect his territory. 

I still remember the look on my son’s face, when he came to visit me at the hospital after the birth of his twin sisters, he was 2+ years at the time. He stared at them with disbelief for few minutes, It looked like he was saying couldn’t you at least bring one? Did you have to bring two? Where is my space on your laps?

I have observed them over the years sometimes fighting to speak to me the three of them all at once, with one wanting to impress me more than others.

The three innocent beings found themselves in an attention  competition that no one prepared them for. 

My son as he gets older confessed that at one point he pretended to be sick for attention’s sake. That is how much it is important to them, they can do anything, consciously or unconsciously including being mean, loud, and argumentative just to get the attention they need.

 

2. Lack of Conflict Resolution Skills  

Conflict resolution as the subtitle suggests, is a skill and the skill needs to be developed and developing the skill is a process, that normally takes time to get right and to perfect. The reason kids fight frequently than most adults is that they have not developed the necessary conflict resolution skill, hence an adult can easily resolve what looked like a mountain them.Stop Sibling Fighting

It’s not like there were options laid out before them on how to deal with the current situation and somehow fighting looked like an appealing option.

Most times it is about going after what they want at whatever cost.  This article Claiming your brain during the conflict from the Havard Business Review.shares more light of what actually happens to the brain during a conflict. This will help you understand that most of what they are going through during the conflict moment is beyond their them mainly because of age and because they have not developed the necessary skill to navigate such moments.

 

‘During conflict, the part of our brain ‘amygdala’ associated with emotional processing gets hijacked. Not only that the neural pathway to our prefrontal cortex gets shut, so we can become disoriented in a heated conversation. Complex decision-making disappears, as does our access to multiple perspectives. As our attention narrows, we find ourselves trapped in the one perspective that makes us feel the safest: “I’m right and you’re wrong’.

In the throes of the amygdala hijack, we can’t choose how we want to react because the old protective mechanism in the nervous system does it for us — even before we glimpse that there could be a choice. It is ridiculous’

Hence it makes sense that the first step towards conflict resolution should be Calming Down

Conflict resolution should be Intentionally taught, modeled, and practiced.

3. Because Fighting is Modeled as a form of Conflict Resolution. 

Stop Sibling Fighting

Modeling remains the best form of teaching. Kids will unconsciously absorb their parent’s way of conflict resolution, This will be done as kids observe how their parent’s daily resolve conflicts between themselves, and between other people.

The most apparent and clear one will be how conflicts between parents and kids get resolved. If you always scream, smack and push them, if you don’t hear them out, if you never acknowledge when you are wrong and apologize you should never expect it from them.

Prevention

It’s usually said that  prevention is better than cure. 

So the best way to deal with sibling rivalry is to prevent it and the big question is how?

1. Awareness 

Observe and become aware of what they normally fight for or fight about. Then put a proactive measure in place to prevent the next fight.

For example, if they normally fight for a particular toy, is there a possibility of you getting an extra toy, if not, put a fun simple system in place concerning the use of that toy. If they simultaneously want the same thing, they can resort to flipping the coin or playing rock, paper. Ceasar to decide who gets it first.

Whatever it is ,it can be minimized, by proper attention, diagnosis, negotiations, and discussions.

2. Together decide on ‘ The How to Maintain the Peace of the Family’

The gospel of peace should be constantly preached, Peace should be the ultimate goal and every member of the family should be  an active participants in the attainment of this goal.

Engage them, check their understanding of this goal, ask – what can be their individual role in achieving the goal? ( right time to get them to commit).

Engage them further- You can ask questions like according to your observation what normally steals the peace of our home and how can we avoid that. ( Let them come up with suggestions, you just add subtly and hold them accountable).

3. Don’t Expect Heaven On Earth

Part of preventing the worst of conflicts is to acknowledge and make them aware that disagreements will always be there, not because the next person is a monster but because they are two different individuals, they will sometimes perceive things differently and That’s Ok. Empower them to perceive such moments right from the beginning, to be aware of a conversation that is about to turn into a hitted argument and what to do e.g walk away, squeeze something, utter a calming mantra, count backward from 100 or take a deep breath before acting or uttering the next word 

Teach them that disagreements don’t have to be accompanied by anger and all negative emotions but they can be handled calmly.

4. Help them establish a solid relationship

 Conflicts within solid relationships are different from conflicts between parties who don’t care about each other norStop Sibling Fighting

even have each other’s interest at heart.

Siblings relationships are challenged during this digital era because family members both adults and kids spent much time with their gadgets than with each other.

It is every parent’s heart desire that his/her children create a strong love bond. Endeavor to frequently come with activities that can build and develop this bond. 

 Check: FUN SIBLING ACTIVITIES TO STOP THE FIGHTING

 

How to Resolve Fights

When you find your kids fighting

1.Don’t take sides .

2. Acknowledge the feelings that you see, what they are fighting about might not make sense to you but the                       feelings you are witnessing are real.  Acknowledge by verbalizing them . E,g ‘ You look angry , Sad, Annoyed or            Disappointed’

3.Acknowledge & describe the complexity of the problem because it is complex in their  eyes. E.g ‘You both                       want to watch TV but the challenge is you want to watch different programs at the same time’

4. Steer them towards a possible solution but don’t impose, allow them to thing and come up with a way forward.

5.Make them aware that,if you were to come up with a verdict it might be unfavorable to both of the.

6.Facilitate this, with the best of your cool, calm and collected self. Breathe! the house is not on fire.

Final Thoughts 

The presence of conflict is not entirely negative and the absence of conflict might not mean that all is well. As we desire to build rivalry free homes, we should also be conscious of creating an environment within our homes where every child’s voice will be fully heard.

The peace of the home should never come at the cost of a child ‘s voice. It must never be that he is quite  and peaceful because he has given up on being heard thus he just let things be.This is a man we are sending out into the world, into board rooms , to be someone’s spouse ,father and leader. If he gets conditioned to not being heard we have silenced him for a lifetime. Check my article on raising boys to be Incredible Men.

In handling conflicts, it  should  be clear to everyone that as much as there are rules and expectations, situations might not be handled the same always,  even if they look the same.

There will always be finer distinctions within different circumstances, sometimes we might ask another sibling to let go of a toy or a particular privilege because maybe the other child is not feeling well this time around.

Recommended Resources

Stop Sibling Fighting

18 thoughts on “Stop Sibling Fighting”

  1. This article reminds me of a lot of stuff some years back. 

    Above all, I keep this one as a takeaway for the day;

    “The presence of conflict is not entirely negative and the absence of conflict might not mean that all is well. As we desire to build rivalry free homes, we should also be conscious of creating an environment within our homes where every child’s voice will be fully heard”.

    thank you.

    Reply
  2. This is a great topic for all of us, I am not a mother, but of course, I also have to do with children, especially since I live in a small village, 55 people and 12 of them are children, I also see some of the arguments on our village street, I always try to distract, go and ask something insignificant, Hey Peter is your mother at home? that works most of the time, the argument that was so important is mostly forgotten and the friends are driving away on the bike. But what I am concerned about is sometimes I see some parents fight out disputes in the presence of the children, children are very sensitive and can be frightened at first, but if it happens often they can take over this habit. Even worse, I find it when parents argue with each other about the children. This website is a mus, You bring light into this topic that is omnipresent but there is still a certain taboo, great that you do this work, thank you very much.

    Reply
    • Thank you Monique

      Arguing in front of kids simply teach them that there are no best alternatives to resolve disagreements, It is  a bad habit. 

      Arguing in front of the children about the children its a total No, Parents should strive to present a united front on family issues, especially issues that directly affects the kids .

      Reply
  3. I love this concept. Definitely something that is needed. I think it Siblings fighting is displayed as “natural”. I do not believe that. I believe is caused by a lack of order in the household. 

    When the parents are not giving their attention to the children equally and fully… then it is natural they will fight for it. Or when parents display to dealing with a conflict in a negative way… then it is natural for them to do the same.

     Both partners in the family need to be aware of their actions and how it affects the children… It will never be “perfect”. But, the proper ways to deal with conflict can be displayed EVERY time. As well as making your child feel like they are Enough and being fully present is also possible. 

    Reply
    • Thank you Shane 

      You made really important points giving attention to children equally and being careful of how we handle conflicts in front of kids.Modelling will remain the most important part of what we are teaching our kids.

      Reply
  4. Sometimes i begin to think that it is a natural thing for siblings to fight. this was experienced with my siblings and then i can see the same thing happening with my kids. the causes are usually the same and you have pointed out a lot. thank you for this review that you have given. it is really helpful.

    Reply
  5. Hello there, It’s normal for teenage siblings to fight over all sorts of things. Teenage kids argue and sometimes fight as much as younger kids but they tend to fight about different things. They might also use different and more grown-up language. Thanks for the tips i know it would be of help to others as it has helped me.

    Reply
  6. You are very right, it is not possible not to have siblings fight in every home and personally I am.able to flashback to sometimes when I was much younger and I would also fight with my siblings. But thost important things is what we learn. When I have kids, I will make sure that they understand that it is normal to have misunderstanding but they can all be settled without resulting to violence.

    Reply
  7. Siblings fighting is kind of inevitable. I’m a guilty of that too. I actually fought with my older sister when I was 9. I will say we have disciplined parents who look after us. But then, there are some things that she’ll do repeatedly, and it was very annoying and irritating. But now, each time we remember those days, we just laugh.

    I love your second point on the causes of siblings rivalry. I guess that’s what my sister and I had, but it seems not to work, lol. Nice article. This made me remember the good old days.

    Reply
  8. Hello Bogadi, Thanks for your in-depth article about such an important topic. I can often see patterns in many families: If the parents are unhappy and argumentative with each other, then the children will reflect it. But even in harmonious families, occasional bickering between siblings happens – naturally. The key is how we deal with it. If you offer creative solutions, e.g. give the children a project to work on and make them fully engaged with something interesting, then there will be less need to argue (e.g. about a different TV program). It’s often the parents who fail to provide their children with a creative activity or motivate them by their own example.

    Reply
  9. I can remember as a kid I had neighbours with these two kids who were very rowdy and would always get into one fight or another with each other and I remember their mother always said they would outgrow it. While her logic may have been sound, I’ve always thought parents from a young age need to teach their children the importance of companionship to prevent sibling rivalry. 

    Reply
    • The truth is yes they normally outgrow it.

      But parents should not leave it at that ,but also use this as a platform to teach conflict resolution 

      Reply
  10. Hello,

    I really enjoyed your article which is very well-researched. And as a Bible reader, I remember the stories of Joseph and his brothers and Cain and Abel very well! Fortunately, most sibling fights are not that extreme. I really liked the reasons you put out and how parents can solve the problems linked to sibling fighting. But I also remember how I fought with my sister because there was too much resentment between us that wasn’t processed properly. So I can relate. But how can you explain sibling fighting between twins? Are they are a specific case?

    THanks for your very informative article, I really enjoyed it. I hope to see more of your posts in the future.

    Elodie

    Reply
    • Hi Angel 

      Thank you for stopping by The Incredible  Boy 

      I am so familiar with the examples you have given. It shows that this struggle is real and not new. We all had sibling fights, it is just important that parents should step in to ensure that its not a life long resentment amongst their kids. 

      I have twin girls . they are always fighting but it has never been a point of concern because two minutes later they are back to playing together/

      Reply
  11. Great tips you provided here.

    I just want to mention that it IS OK to fight, isn’t it? Fighting with their sibling can potentially teach kids so much about human interaction in general, and conflict resolution in particular. Shouldn’t we allow them (and ourselves) to voice their anger and grievances and to experience conflicts, in the safe setting of home, and maybe just gently direct them toward independent problem solving? (easier said than done, I know)

    By the way, I remember Me and my little brother got to fighting over food, I was just playing with him and he got mad and pushed me, I told him to stop because I’m older than him and than he hit me again so we started fighting Haha. Childhood is amazing…

    Cheers

    Reply
    • Hi Warren 

      Thank you for stopping by The Incredible Boy 

      I like your excitement over childhood. Fighting is okay and expected within certain limits, And the parents must determine the limits, it shouldnt turn toxic.

      Reply

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